Touch-screen computers such as tablets and interactive whiteboards support simulation-based learning environments, which are in turn proving effective by supporting active, system- and process-based exploration of a knowledge domain. However, simulations also require numerical input parameters and data-based interpretation of results that involve mathematical knowledge and skills beyond what most primary-school students have yet learned.
Researchers from the Netherlands' University of Twente created GearSketch, a simulation-based learning environment that’s easy to use and formulates results in a way that primary school students can interpret without advanced mathematical thought. In a paper at the IEEE 4th International Conference on Digital Game and Intelligent Toy Enhanced Learning (Digitel 2012), the researchers present results from a study showing the effectiveness of GearSketch and touch-screen devices to improve learning in primary school science education.
"Drawing-Based Simulation for Primary School Science Education: An Experimental Study of the GearSketch Learning Environment" and other papers from Digitel 2012 are available to both IEEE Computer Society members and paid subscribers via the Computer Society Digital Library.